Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beautify Your Landing Page

I love talking about usability. I was talking about it today with my manager with regard to my geographical visualization tool (I'd show screenshots, but it's backed by sensitive, proprietary data, sorry) and how to best display options to mess with it, and he brought up the good point that we're dealing with an technical user (Amazon business units) rather than your average person, who would have different needs and intuitions and such. Anyway, today, I wanted to talk a little bit about this article on how to make the first page your users see of your site a lasting experience for them. When it comes down to it, the sites you get pumped to come back to or talk about are different and fresh and fast and dynamic. I recommend browsing that post, and allocate like 20 minutes for it because it has some really fun links. Basically, the core concepts are that your site is user-friendly, it's fun to navigate, it's unique, and it communicates well on a visual level. That's what that entire article boils down to. When it really comes down to it, I think all web designers should sit in the driver's seat and figure out how likely you'd be to keep visiting the site and whether you actually enjoy using it. I think sometimes people get too caught up in little things and don't realize that using technology and navigating the web should be enjoyable!

Remember how SoundExchange decided to ease up on internet radio regarding those royalty hikes? Well, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and the price internet radio has to pay is DRM. That's right, they have to actively fight against streamripping, which basically will end up limiting how users can get to the streams since they have to be clients that support DRM (like Windows Media Player). I guess it's better than losing internet radio altogether though.fees to the winner.

On the bright side, Capitol Records lost a lawsuit and had to pay like $60k in attorney fees to the winner! The is the first time someone has won money from the RIAA in one of these lawsuits, and let's hope that it starts a trend!

The Apple rumor mills are hard at work with word that we'll probably see an iPhone-like iPod as soon as next month or as late as January 2008 due to a contract for touchscreens won by a Taiwanese company. I suppose that this could be for the iPhone, but they're not having supply issues with the iPhone and so they probably wouldn't need a fresh contract for that. I think next month would be too soon for a new iPod, but I'd guess for October maybe. Speaking of the iPhone, this is probably my favorite iPhone rant. It's NSFW, but still hilarious.

Google is really pushing its Street View thing with a whole fleet of Chevy Cobalts ready to hit some big cities. Ok, that's making an assumption, but what else would they do with 30 brand new cars with vertical extensions attached to their hoods?

Speaking of cars, if you text when you drive, then you're an idiot. If you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I can maybe understand, but come on! If you need to see this sign to know to not text while you drive, then you don't deserve to drive:

Lastly, this thing is freaking hilarious. If you've ever been in the industry, you'll definitely appreciate it. Hell, even if you haven't, I'm sure you'll find it amusing. It's a list of ways to know your software project is doomed, and it's quite accurate.

I don't watch much anime, though I can respect it, and I like the teaser for The Five Killers, which is from the makes of Afro Samurai. The only other thing I have is the trailer for The Last Legion from The Weinstein Company and featuring Bollywood star (and the wet dream of a lot of Indian dudes, I'm sure; I only dream of my girlfriend, seriously, so I wouldn't know). The trailer isn't particularly amazing, but it's still interesting subject matter (first leader of Rome and stuff).

Now for the Tuesday Twosome:

1. Two nicknames that friends and family call me:
My girlfriend calls me tiger, and some of the guys here call me Ford/Fjord.
2. Two items of clothing I would never get rid of:
The tie I wore to my brother's wedding and the kurta I wore to his Roce.
3. Two movies that I can watch over and over again:
Donnie Darko and Pulp Fiction
4. Two people that have influenced me the most:
My father and my brother
5. Two goals/dreams I hope to fulfill in my lifetime:
Marry the girl of my dreams and create software that really changes the world

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